Beyond BBQ – Downtown Memphis Day 1

The corporate headquarters for my corporation is located outside of Memphis. I have visited there a time or two. During my last few visits I never ventured out of the suburbs. During my recent trip I had the majority of my evenings free so I was able to explore more of Memphis. I feel lucky that I got to visit during the month of May. I belive that is the time of the year when Memphis is at its best. The weather is awesome and there is so much to do (if you get past the allergens).
I came in a day early for my trip so I could take part in the Beale Street Music Festival.

I started my downtown experience by dining at the famous Arcade Restaurant. History states that it was a favorite dining spot for Elvis Presley when he was alive. I took reviewers advice and ordered the sweet potato pancakes. While it was true that they were good I think I would have enjoyed them more if they were whole grain. I have taken a liking to whole grain pancakes so white flour pancakes taste too much like dessert for breakfast to me now.

I easily found downtown parking for $10 a day and walked down to the festival gate near Beale Street. I visited on a Sunday about an hour after the gates opened. There were no lines to get in but it was hot.

Photo credit: Taken from beale street music festival facebook page.

I decided to start at the Blues Tent close to the entrance to enjoy the shade for a while. The first act of the day was Dr. Herman Green. Herman is a spectacular saxophone player who still plays great at the age of 83. He has played with many notable blues legends but typically will do a set with the jam band FreeWorld at these festivals. Unfortunately they scheduled Herman Green and FreeWorld to perform at the same time this year. After enjoying Dr. Green for about 20 minutes, I wandered over to another tent to see the end of the set of FreeWorld.
FreeWorld is a fun jam band with a loyal following. They did some covers but even their originals were easily recognizable by the audience. I joined the energy at that stage and finished the set with them.
After they were finished I walked over to the stage where the Dandy Warhols were going to perform and caught the last few minutes of the energetic Latin band Los Rabanes. I can’t believe I have never heard of this ska-rock band. They had me dancing over to their stage with their version of “Electric Avenue”. They performed a few more covers and original songs with intense energy that made you feel foolish if you were in the crowd standing around. They were truly a fun band to watch.
While waiting for the next act I found a beer tent that had beers close to craft-beer like (since the event was sponsored by Bud). I picked up a Goose Island Urban Wheat Ale (Goose Island sits on the fence of big beer and craft beer anymore) and headed back to the stage to get a good spot for the Dandy Warhols. This was my first time seeing them live but I have enjoyed some of their tunes for a few years now. I was excited to hear their higher energy tunes when they were played; sadly the crowd was not. I suppose many in the crowd have never heard of them. The Dandy Warhol’s played a great set but it would have been just a bit better with a more excited crowd.
After Dandy Warhols I walked back over to the stage where Leftover Salmon was playing to catch their act. Leftover Salmon is a Colorado based jam-band that I have caught before at New Orleans Jazz Fest and other music festivals. They are fun to watch but I was getting hot standing around in the sun so I decided to leave the festival for the day. I took a re-entry ticket thinking maybe I would just hang out in a cool restaurant for a while and come back; but I was tired and I had to work the next day.

A couple of days later I headed back downtown to try to catch what I missed the first day.
However that evening I wanted to try to get dinner closer to my hotel. I stopped at the Hog & Hominy and enjoyed one of their delicious cocktails and pizzas.

I ordered the Bebop and Rocksteady – the pizza with sopressata and clams. I was curious because I have never tried clams on a pizza before. The whole flavor of the pizza was delicious, especially the sopressata, but the clams were chewier than I like.
After I finished my dinner it was off to bed early to make sure I got a good night’s sleep before work the next  morning.

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